Democracy is a Greek word which means “rule of the people”. It is a system of government in which the people exercise their power directly or (as it is in St Helena) they elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament or in our case a Council.
Democracy is one of the universal core values and principles of the United Nations; it is at the heart of the work of the EHRC.
The EHRC believes that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms along with the principle of holding regular, open, free and fair elections are the essential elements of real democracy.
These values are embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which protect the political rights and civil liberties necessary for meaningful democracies. They are also protected (Although not properly) in the Constitution of St Helena too.
Openness, transparency and accountability are also at the heart of democratic government as without full knowledge the electorate cannot make an informed choice on Election Day.
Democracy does not stop on Election Day, our elected representatives also must be given access to the information that they need to make fully informed decisions on our behalf. This includes a full understanding of all sides of a discussion and all possible alternatives.
Our elected members must also regularly consult with the electorate in order to hear their opinions and ideas. They cannot represent the people properly and make decisions for the people if they are out of touch with what the people need.